Archive for March, 2012

For Your Post-Apocalyptic Library Science Needs

Posted in Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction with tags , , on March, 2012 by melendwyr

Hillbilly space vandals.  Human-looking aliens with headbands that functioned as PDAs.   Dialog almost worthy of the Eye of Argon.  Hooded Space Wizards who speak in rhyme and place unwise librarians in stasis for a hundred years.  Earth abandoned to a decay that remarkably resembles Mississippi in 1985.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, you may have been forced to watch Tomes and Talismans as a child.  As probably the most well-known product of Mississippi Educational Television, Tomes instructed the young in details of library use, effective reading strategies, and how proper use of the Dewey Decimal System can save the planet.  For these noble goals, countless children trapped in the holding pens referred to as ‘schools’ were induced to watch this program in the hopes that they would suddenly perceive libraries as AWESOME!  Alas, it probably had no effect except to deepen their contempt of reading and further ostracize those kids who publicly enjoyed it.

One irony of the program was that despite being set in a distant future, the technologies it taught were mostly obsolete and largely replaced by computer archive systems less than a decade later.  Another is that, despite the ridiculousness of its plot, most people never got to find out how it ended – seemingly the adults forced to supervise the indoctrination of the young were unable to put up with having to watch the series themselves.   Fortunately, various individuals uploaded the series to YouTube!

For your edification and viewing pleasure, I link you to:  Tomes and Talismans:  Episode One:  Tomes Entombed

(cue eerie music)

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The Beginning of the End

Posted in Doom, Politics and Society, Things You Should Read with tags on March, 2012 by melendwyr

Newspapers and magazines have closed down.  Sales of Kindles have eclipsed sales of paperbacks.  Printers have gone out of business.

But I think the watershed moment came yesterday, as the owners of the Encyclopedia Britannica announced that they would not publish any further print editions due to the majority of their revenue coming from online sources.

It’s now conceivable to me that we could see the end of books before the end of my lifetime.  Will print-on-demand pick up the slack, or will books become a tiny and obsolete niche the way vacuum tubes are for music?